The death penalty is contested across modern social, political, academic, and legal institutions, and this interdisciplinary text helps readers analyze that debate. It begins with Furman v. Georgia, which doubles as the Supreme Court’s only decision striking down the death penalty and as the origin of modern American capital punishment. The text explores the legal rules and moral reasoning behind the principle that the death penalty be reserved for the worst offenders, as well as the most uncomfortable realities of American capital punishment—the likelihood of wrongful executions and the undeniable influence of race on death penalty practice. Discussion of law and theory is always supplemented with appropriate empirical studies, and is connected to the practice of lawyers on the ground. The text concludes with a glimpse to the future of the death penalty, and situates the increasingly exceptional American experience in an international context. This legal material is carefully presented so as to remain accessible to non-lawyers, and it is intended for anyone with an interest in capital punishment.


Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: Concepts and Insights
Publication Date: 07/05/2018
Related Subject(s): Capital Punishment, Criminal Procedure

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